Expert Pool Work, Inc.

providing expert pool work since 1999

(402) 341-8132

There are 5 main categories of seasonal pool chemicals


Do not believe everything you hear or read about pool chemicals, especially if it sounds to good to be true. Some chemical-based information will be misleading or just plain wrong. So much of the information out there is not really information...rather, it is pre-planned sales-based scripting to sell more chemicals. 

Achieving optimal water chemistry is never as easy as adding “a pound of this” or "a quart of this" or “a scoop of that” periodically. Also, do not be fooled by false claims that a single “miracle chemical” will provide you with optimal water chemistry and total water clarity. No such chemical exists. If it did, why would you be reading this article right now? Wouldn’t you have already added that “miracle chemical” and be swimming right now in your absolutely perfect, gorgeous, and bluer-than-blue pool water?

The reality is that achieving - and maintaining - optimal water chemistry will take some time and effort from you on a consistent basis. But, with advances in technology, with improvements made to existing chemicals, with the introduction of new and innovative - and legitimate - specialty chemicals, with proper sizing of your equipment and plumbing, with a routine - yet fairly simple - maintenance schedule, and by accessing our www.poolsupport.com website, it really is minimal time and effort. And, this minimal time and effort will protect your investment. Remember, water chemistry not only affects the clarity, cleanliness, safety, and overall aesthetics of the water inside the pool, but it also affects the overall structure and integrity of the entire pool, to include the pool's surface, watertight protection, plumbing pipes, equipment, and all of the additional components, parts and pieces that accompany your pool.

While promoting safety in and around the pool is always priority-one for any pool owner, maintaining optimal water chemistry and clear blue water is also high on the to-do list.

While there have been some advances - and in some cases significant advances - in overall pool water chemistry, the basics of water chemistry have remained - and will likely forever remain - constant. To be clear, there is not one single “miracle chemical” that will provide you with optimal water chemistry and total water clarity. But, as long as you are able to understand the basics of water chemistry and pool chemicals - as well as the importance of having a properly-sized pump and filter system and the importance of adhering to routine pool maintenance - and then further applying these basics to the climate/weather here, the source water that you used to fill your pool, and your personalized use of your pool, then you will be able maintain optimal water chemistry and clear blue water with limited - but still (and always) some - effort.

The only way to maintain optimal water chemistry for your pool is to continually ensue that your required pool chemical levels are within their ideal ranges.

While discussion about water chemistry and pool chemicals can be fairly complex subjects, they can can be simplified...somewhat.

But, it will be easier for you to understand pool chemicals if you put them in these 5 categories:

  1. Sanitizer
  2. Oxidizer
  3. Balancer
  4. Maintenance
  5. Treatment

1.  SANITIZER:
​A sanitizer will destroy and remove bacteria, pathogens, organisms, algae spores, dirt, debris, particles, and other contaminates from pool water as well as at least somewhat oxidize organic matter in the pool water so that the end result is clean, clear, and safe water. Sanitizing the pool is a requirement for maintaining optimal water chemistry and the resulting water clarity. You will have a choice of sanitizers; you will only use one sanitizer from this list:

When your chosen sanitizer is maintained at even its lowest acceptable value (contingent that your water is also balanced), then any bacteria, pathogens, organisms, algae spores, dirt, debris, particles, and other contaminates that try to invade your pool water will be eliminated almost instantaneously.


2.  OXIDIZER:
​An oxidizer will remove organic matter (such as ammonia, nitrogen, and other organic compounds) from the pool water that the sanitizer could not remove alone. Once the sanitizer is engaged with such organic matter, it will become occupied with this organic matter to the point that its sanitizing potential will be severely lessened if not completely diminished. The only way to again free the sanitizer from this organic matter is to oxidize the water. The only way to truly and effectively oxidize the pool water is by shocking the pool; shock is an oxidizer.

In its simplest terms, an oxidizer will revive your chosen sanitizer; so when you shock the pool, you are revising your chosen sanitizer.

There is a lot of science and chemistry required to define and discuss a sanitizer and an oxidizer and to then discuss the differences between a sanitizer and an oxidizer as they both relate to water chemistry and to each other; there is a lot more science and chemistry than you need to - or want to - know concerning your pool water.

As previously mentioned, a sanitizer is ultimately responsible for removing bacteria, pathogens, organisms, algae spores, dirt, debris, particles, and other contaminates from the water so that the water remains clean, clear, and safe for swimming. A sanitizer will also oxidize organic matter in the water as best as it can to remove as much of that organic matter as possible; all sanitizers are also oxidizers, at least partly. But, sanitizers cannot completely oxidize the pool water. Shock is an oxidizer, as it will remove any organic matter (primarily ammonia, nitrogen, and other organic compounds) that the sanitizer could not remove on its own, which will free-up the sanitizer to once again go about its business of removing all of the undesired contaminates in the water as well as assist with some initial oxidizing of some organic matter. Ultimately, then, the shock revives the chosen sanitizer. A sanitizer - any pool water sanitizer - can only do so much for so long before it has to be revived - by shock.

Shocking the pool is mandatory regardless of the sanitizer chosen. As a pool owner, you will become very familiar with the entire process of shocking the pool. Admittedly, shocking the pool is a confusing topic - perhaps the most confusing topic - of pool ownership. We hope this helps explain why you need to shock the pool regularly.

Actual water chemists will suggest that we're over-simplifying the concepts of "sanitizer" and "oxidizer" and they would certainly be correct. However, we're not writing this article for water chemists; we're writing it for residential pool owners, who are extremely confused about everything as it pertains to pool shock, so we're using a strategy to make pool shock easier to understand and to simplify the concept and process of shocking the pool.


3.  BALANCERS:
​The term "balance" or the phrase "water balance" as they pertain to a swimming pool refer specifically to the pH level, the Alkalinity level, and the Hardness level all being within their respective ideal ranges. When the pH, Alkalinity, and Hardness levels are all three within their ideal ranges, then the water is said to be balanced.

The chemicals that are used to adjust the pH, Alkalinity, and Hardness levels are collectively known as "water balancers" (or "water balancing chemicals") when dealing with pool water chemistry.

For pool water to be balanced, the Alkalinity, pH, and Hardness levels must all be within their respective ideal ranges.

The phrase "demand and balance" is also readily used when discussing pool water chemistry. Water itself is a solvent; water is actually often referred to as the universal solvent. If you place water (previously balanced water) in any container and leave it alone, eventually the water would not be balanced; it will become imbalanced. In this now imbalanced state, the water - since it is a solvent - would then begin to dissolve that container in an attempt to re-establish its own balance. Rather than getting into a prolonged science and chemistry lecture about the nature of a solvent, just let it be understood that water is volatile and will attempt to balance itself unless you create this balance via pool chemicals for the pH, Alkalinity, and Hardness levels of the pool water. To be clear, your swimming pool is the container in this example.

As a solvent, when your pool water is out of balance - or in other words, when your pH, Alkalinity, and/or Hardness levels are not within their ideal ranges - then your pool water will dissolve various materials that it comes into contact with to satisfy its own demand for balance. Your pool water will continue to dissolve these materials until it can no longer store the matter that it had previously dissolved; this is called the saturation point of water. After achieving this saturation point, the water will then rid itself of the excess dissolved matter; this is called the precipitation point of water. If your pool water reaches this saturation point and ultimately its precipitation point, then problems with water clarity will arise.

Again, rather than getting into a prolonged and boring science and chemistry lecture, just let it be understood that your pool water has the distinct potential to dissolve various materials of your pool - such as its overall structure, interior, and watertight protection (waterproofing membrane) as well as a handrail, ladder, light assembly, and/or internals of the pool equipment (such as a pump or a heater) - so that it can meet its own demand to be in balance. If any or all of your water-balancing chemicals (pH, Alkalinity, or Hardness) are not within their ideal ranges, then just know that your pool water can - and likely will - make demands on certain materials that comprise your overall pool and it will continue to make these demands until is demand for balance is met. To put this in dollars-and-cents terms, this can - and likely will - result in expensive (yet preventable) repairs or renovations to your pool structure, interior, and waterproofing as well as premature plumbing and equipment failure.

The best way to meet this demand for balance is to continually ensure that your pH, Alkalinity, and Hardness levels are always within the ideal ranges, which will allow you to balance the water. 

The whole concept of “demand and balance” is a confusing topic. Do not worry about this in a scientific manner. Rather, just understand that your pool water is volatile in nature and must be kept under close supervision so that it constantly remains in balance, otherwise it will dissolve various materials of the pool and ultimately discolor or cloud your pool water, or worse lead to stains or the formation of scale, or even much worse result in expensive (yet preventable) repairs or renovations to your pool as well as premature plumbing and equipment failure. If you keep your pool water balanced by constantly maintaining the pH, Alkalinity, and Hardness in their desired ideal ranges, then water chemistry and clarity problems are far less likely to occur...as are expensive replacements, repairs or renovations.

NOTE: imbalanced water will not necessarily lead to cloudy, colored, or otherwise distorted water; in fact, the water may be clear when the pool water is imbalanced...and this clear (yet imbalanced) water will do damage over time to your pool, plumbing and equipment.


4.  MAINTENANCE:
​While every pool needs to be sanitized, oxidized (by shocking the pool), and balanced, it is a really smart money to use some maintenance chemicals to help prevent potential water clarity issues and problems. I know...another cost. Seemingly, yes, but these maintenance chemicals will save your sanitizer and oxidizer as well as the wear-and-tear on your filter, all saving you money. And, it is always much easier, much less time-consuming, and much less expensive to prevent potential water clarity problems than it is to treat actual water clarity problems. Therefore, the use of maintenance chemicals should also be used as part of your routine maintenance schedule.

Certain maintenance (preventative) chemicals include:

You would just add a little bit each week - literally a few ounces each week; the actual amount to use will be determined by the label instructions on the chemical and the number of gallons of water in your pool.

All of these maintenance-based chemicals will also greatly support your chosen sanitizer; if the maintenance-based chemical is doing its job, the sanitizer can focus on its job.

All of these maintenance-based chemicals will also greatly support your filter; if the maintenance-based chemical is doing its job, then less particles of any sort will reach the filter, which will allow the filter to not have to work as hard.

Contrary to popular belief - for whatever reason - the maintenance-based chemicals are not just another way for a pool company to make money; they have a job, and they do that job well.


​5.  TREATMENT:
​Even with proper sanitizing, proper oxidizing (shocking), proper water balance, and the proper use of maintenance chemicals, at times, water clarity will suffer; some examples include the outbreak of algae, cloudy water, discolored water, stains, scale formation, or build-up at the surface (waterline) of the pool. Even the most tenured and astute pool owners have encountered, and will continue to encounter, these and perhaps other water clarity problems. For this reason, various treatment chemicals are also available to help treat actual water clarity problems and otherwise help restore water clarity. It is important to remember that the various treatment chemical do rely on an ideal sanitizer level and ideal water balance of the pH, Alkalinity, Hardness levels. You can do everything right, yet still experience water clarity issues and problems. But, if you are doing everything right, then this should be the exception rather than the norm.

You might not have to use a treatment-based chemical all pool season. But you might. They are available if you need them.

The chemical that you will use will depend on the water issue or problem. And the actual amount of the chemical to use will be determined by the label instructions on the chemical and the number of gallons of water in your pool. When you have a water clarity problem, call us and we'll tell you the chemical you will need to treat that problem and ultimately restore water clarity.


​If you place the pool chemicals in these 5 categories, then it may make it easier for you to understand what chemicals to add, when they need to be added, and how they should be added.

We sell and deliver chemicals and other pool supplies.

You can contact Expert Pool Work, Inc. at 402-341-8132 or info@expertpoolwork.com to discuss your pool chemical needs.

 

 

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